Nielsen Study Says 89% of Yelpers Buy within a Week of Site Visit

Yelp logoYelp is now much more aggressively courting advertisers — as it must. The company has been introducing a number of new products and capabilities for advertisers in an effort to help them better understand ROI on the site or to achieve a better ROI for their ad dollars.

Last week, for example, Yelp introduced a new “Call to Action” feature that permits advertisers “to promote a desired transaction of their choosing directly on their Yelp business listing” (e.g., buy now, reserve, etc.). These buttons and links take users to the merchant’s site and a designated “transactional” page.

Today Yelp posted about a consumer study it commissioned from Nielsen (n=1,415 US adults). The bottom line is that Yelp users are highly desirable and “ready to buy.” The headline of the post is “Nielsen: 4 out of 5 Yelp users visit the site when preparing to spend money.”

The study is chock full of data that can be used to make the case to merchants to advertise on Yelp. There’s an infographic that lays much of it out. Below are a few of the salient data points released by Yelp:

  • 82% of Yelp users go to the site because they intend to buy a product or service
  • 89% of users make a purchase decision within a week of visiting the site (35% that day)
  • The range of business categories consumers investigate on Yelp is broad and more evenly distributed than in the past
  • Google is the site most frequently used by people who don’t visit Yelp first

Alternatives to Yelp

Once again Facebook is lurking in there as a local business resource despite its search capabilities being relatively new and not widely adopted.

To anyone working in or around the yellow pages industry or any “directional medium” (e.g., search) during the past decade or so will recognize this “ready to buy” consumer behavior. I have little doubt that the survey findings, though they form a self-serving argument for Yelp, are accurate. Google and online yellow pages benefit from the same behavior.

What’s more interesting to consider — and what’s not clearly addressed by the data shown — is what sites consumers visit before or after Yelp. Depending on the category consumers may use several sources to help them make purchase decisions. Travel is an extreme case, where people may consult as many as 10 sites before buying.

The graphic above implies a percentage of survey respondents visit Yelp first before other sites. But many Yelp users go to Google first and navigate to the site that way. Yelp may also benefit from being used late or at the end of the cycle as well (e.g., verifying that a recommended merchant checks out).

It would also be interesting to know how many people exclusively use Yelp to make their buying decisions.

What do you think of this data? And do you think it will be persuasive to would-be local advertisers?

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6 Responses to “Nielsen Study Says 89% of Yelpers Buy within a Week of Site Visit”

  1. Street Fight Daily: Zagat’s Workplace ‘Nightmare,’ Square Launches Marketplace | Street Fight says at

    […] Study Says 89% of Yelpers Buy within a Week of Site Visit (Screenwerk) Greg Sterling: A study conducted by Neilsen found that four out of five Yelp users visit the site […]

  2. David Mihm says at

    Sounds a lot like the old Yellow Pages’ mantra to me…

  3. Greg Sterling says at

    Exactly. 

  4. Ben Jabbawy says at

    The fact that google is where 84% of people turn still shows the significance of having a website for your local biz. This is incredibly consistent with the data we collect at Privy.

    Thanks for posting, Greg.

  5. Greg Sterling says at

    Yes. Website is mandatory. 

  6. Al Johnson says at

    One of my clients gets about 8.56% of traffic from a yelp free listing. I do not know the conversion ratio but from what she says it’s a regular occurrence. Trip adviser is also showing up more and more. 

  7. Greg Sterling says at

    TripAdvisor is the key site in hospitality and increasingly important in restaurants in certain markets. 

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  9. A Well Informed Customer? - HOSTING says at

    […] an integral part of a customer’s research and buying decision. In a recent Neilsen study, 89% of US Yelp users make a purchase within one week of visiting their site. Yelp is where consumers go when they are ready to buy, and at this point […]

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